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tv   1938 Documentary The River  CSPAN  August 30, 2014 4:43am-5:17am EDT

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clement would remain with them. as the men split bamboo to transport down river, johnston saw he won a minor but significant victory. they were using machetes instead of bayonets. misuse of bayonets had apparently ended. as they prepared to move down river, men of the battalion were concerned about something and it wasn't the prospect of back breaking work in the 120 degree heat. t. tet, their version of chinese new year. at a nearby port on the river, the equipment was loaded on board lcms. responding to requests through
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command and advisory channels they assigned four landing craft in support of the battalion's mission. johnston was on hand to watch the lcms pull out. manned by navy personnel the craft would transport the equipment by river and by canal to the construction site. the battalion paralleled the river on foot to clear the area of viet cong. walking with them were johnston and the battalion commander. they cleared villages and searched huts along the populated route to the site of the post. johnston and his counter part found all adult males had left confirming their belief that most of the population were viet cong. at another hut, a last moment escape by vc was indicated by
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food still being cooked. despite all precautions, an ambush resulted in the wounding of two men. on the river, the navy was having its own taste of the viet cong, receiving harassing fire from the thick jungle. in return, they opened up with their 20 millimeter cannon. as soon as the battalion arrived at the site of the sdc post they started digging in to set up on the perimeter on johnston's recommendation. he explained some of his other recommendations to the regiment regimental commanding. following a conference they burned the brush to uncover many traps laid by the communist viet cong.
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with security established the first lcm was signalled to come in. johnston lent a hand in tying it to the bank. the battalion was now ready to begin its basic mission, correction of the sdc post. following the plan drawn up by johnston and his counter part. the wall would be of mud which would become as hard as concrete when it dried. a block house was constructed. the captain supervised many faces while johnston but everywhere, on teving and advising.
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one of his recommendations was for the use of concertina wire. their joint plan included the digging of a moat surrounding this entire post. construction but interrupted by fire from the v.c.s. casualties was sustained from both sides. >> this soldier received mortar fragments. viet cong harassing fire during the post's construction led to a disagreement between adviser and counter part when johnston recommended clearing fields of
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fire in the captain wanting to save the crops. johnston won his point and they burned fields of fire on both sides of the canal. the following day another battalion soldier was wounded by sniper fire at 1150 hours, a significant time since it was ten minutes before virtually all troops took a two hour siesta. johnston radioed a request for a u.s. piloted helicopter. he received a regretful refusal. only when arvin refuse admission could u.s. pilots be sent. three hours later, an arvin helicopter landed.
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the wounded man lost his right eye and was paralyzed on the right side. johnston, deeply involved, helped load him on the helicopter. with the sdc post almost completed the battalion assisted in the construction of a watchtower. it became stuck in the soft mud. johnston and his counter part hurried to the scene. having experience with track vehicles, johnston felt he had the solution but is kept it to himself to allow the captain to direct operations. the commander's methods were suitable for wheeled vehicles but succeeded in bogging down the tractor more. the battalion commander earn his
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u.s. adviser were worried. the troops were under harassing fire and the deadline of tet was drawing closer. delay could cause the men their holiday and morale could become dangerously low. as he later admitted, johnston's concern for the men led him to use poor judgment. he attempted to advise his counter part in front of his officers and men. the acceptance of advice in front of others would have caused him to lose face so he continued to use his own methods. even procurement of a second bulldozer and use of all available men didn't help. finally johnston issued an ultimatum to him. use the method he recommended he
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he would make a report to regiment. the commander reluctantly gave in. johnston's method was to anchor the bottom of the track to a stationary object so it would pull itself out of the hole it had dug for itself. his method worked. the men threw their hats in the air in a spontaneous expression of joy. they made it. a few days later their mission was fully accomplished. the sdc post was completed. the sdc men and their families moved in to man the post and set up housekeeping, bringing in
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firewood for cooking and drinking water. it was a scene of domestic tranquility against a backdrop of anticipated violence. with the post fully completed in ten days, the battalion headed back to the village. the viet cong, unsympathetic as always, hit them with an ambush. it was quickly met with small arms and mortar fire. the commander directed the action.
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more first battalion casualties were added to the price of the sdc post. captured vc prisoners showed another side to the balance sheet. now they could complete the final leg of their journey back. a few days later, captain johnston received orders for reassignment to the united states. his good friend was with him on his last mission. there was a heart warming mutual respect between adviser and counter part and between officers and men. at least one advisory technique had burned itself into johnston's subconscious. these were indeed his troops. it was time for him to return to the united states and for
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lieutenant clement to replace him. the new battalion adviser had already learned that a careless word or action could not only jeopardize the success of a mission but could cost the united states dearly in goodwill and cooperation. he recognized that the rapport of johnston -- it would be up to him to work out the problems as johnston had. however one fact was certain, all else being equal, he would have an easier time of it because his predecessor had laid the foundation of a workable relationship with his counterpart and the rest of the battalion.
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here's a look at what's ahead this labor day weekend on american history tv. saturday at 6:00 p.m. eastern the civil war and the atlanta campaign. on sunday at 6:30, supreme court chief justice john roberts on the history and significance of the magna carta. at 9:00 p.m. that evening a look at senator sam irvin's time as chair of the senate watergate committee. and a discuss of letters from president warren harding detailing his long term love affair. all of that this weekend on american history tv on c-span3. each week reel america brings you archival films. released in 1938 and sponsored by the farm security administration, the river is a
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31-minute documentary about the miss river valley. the film promotes various new deal proms by arguing that poor farming and timbering practice have caused flooding and destruction. the film makers captured many scenes of this flood and incorporated them into the documentary. ♪ >> from as far west as idaho
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down from the glacier peaks of the rockies, from as far east as pennsylvania down from the turkey ridges of the alleghenys, down from minnesota, 2500 miles, the mississippi river runs to the gulf carrying every drop of water that follows down 2/3 the continent caring every brook and rill, rivulet and creek, the mississippi runs down to the gulf of mexico. down the yellowstone, the milk, the white and cheyenne. the cannon ball, the muscle shell, the james and the sioux, down the jude ith the grand the
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osage, and the plant. the black, down the rock, the illinois and the allegheny, down the miami the kentucky and the tennessee, down the wichita, the red and yazoo. down the missouri, 3,000 miles from the rockies. down the ohio, a thousand miles from the algain y. down the arkansas, 1500 miles from the great divide. down red, a thousand miles from texas. down the great valley, 2500 miles from minnesota. carying every rivulet creek and rill, the mississippi runs to the gulf.
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♪ new orleans to baton rouge. baton rouge to naches. naches to vicksburg. vicksburg to memphis. memphis to cairo. we build a dike a thousand miles long. men and mules, mules and mud. mules and mud a thousand miles up the mississippi. a century before we bought the great western river the spanish and french built dikes to keep the mississippi out of new orleans at flood stage. we continue to levee the entire length of the delta. the valley built up for
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centuries by the old river spilling her floods across the bottom of the continent. a mud delta of 40,000 square miles. men and mules, mules and mud. new orleans to baton rouge, naches to vicksburg, memphis to k cairo a thousand miles up the river. down through the boom trace. down through cumberland gap over from georgia and south carolina. over from the tide water. over from the old cotton land west of the big river. west of the steam boat highway. down the highway to the sea. ♪
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corn and oats down the missouri, tobacco and whisky down the ohio. down from pittsburgh, down from st. louis. hemp and potatoes, pork and flour. we send our commerce to the sea. ♪ we made cotton king. we rolled a million bales down the river from liverpool and leads, 1860 we rolled four million bales down the river. rolled them off alabama, rolled them off mississippi. rolled them off louisiana. ♪
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we fought a war. we fought a war and kept the west bank of the river free of slivery forever. but we left the old south impoverished and stricken. doubly stricken because besides the tragedy of war already the frenzied cotton cultivation of a quarter century had taken toll of the land. we mined the soil for cotton until it would yield no more. and then moved west. we fought a war. but there was a double tragedy. the tragedy of land twice
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impoverished. ♪ black spruce and norway pine. douglas fir and red cedar. scarlet oak and shagbark hickory. h hemlock and aspen. there was war in the north. the railroads killed the steam boats but there was lumber in the north. head's up, lumber on the upper river. head's up. lumber enough to cover all europe. ♪ down from minnesota and
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wisconsin, down to st. paul, down to st. louis and st. joe. lumber for the new continent of the west. lumber for the new mills. ♪
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there was lumber in the north and coal in the hills. iron and coal. down to pittsburgh, down to wheeling. iron and coal to the steel mill for the railroads driving west and south for the new sitters of the great valley.
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we build new machinery and cleared new land in the west. 10 million bales down the to gulf. 15 million bales down to the gulf. cotton if for spools of italy and germany. across to the rockies and down to minnesota 2,500 miles to new÷ orleans. we built a new continent.
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♪ black spruce and for way pine, douglas fur and red cedar. scarlet smoke and shag bark hickory. we built 100 cities and a thousand towns but at what a cost? we top off the aligeyny and sent it down the river. we cut the top off minnesota and sent it down the river. we cut the top off wisconsin and sent it down the river. we left the mountains and the
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hills slashed and burned and moved on. when the water comes down hill, spring and fall, down from the cut over mountains, down from the slopes. from as far west as idaho and as far east as pennsylvania, down
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every brooke and riffulette, and creek. carrying every drop of water that flows down 2/3rd of the continent. 193, 197, 1913, 1916, 1922, 1927, 1936, 1937. down from pennsylvania and ohio, kentucky and west virginia, missouri and illinois, down from north carolina and tennessee, down the judith, the grand, the sage, the plaque, the minnesota,
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the mooi amiami, the green, wif wolf, cash, down the corn yazoo, down the cumber land and tennessee, down the ohio a thousand miles from pittsburgh. down arkansas a thousand miles from texas. down the mississippi. new orleans to baton rouge, v
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vixberg, memphis, a thousand miles down the leavlevy. 38 feet at baton rouge, river isaac, river rising, herum, river rising, a thousand miles to go. a thousand miles of levy to hold. coast guard patrol needed at paducka. 200 boats wanted at hickman. 200 boats wanted at hickman. levy patrol, men to blitheville.
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2,000 men wanted at carou. 2,000 men wanted at carou. 100,000 men to fight the old river. we sent every branch of the service down the river to help the sleepless engineers fight a battle on a 2,000 mile front. the army and navy, the coast guard and marine corp, the ccc and wpa, the red cross and the health service fought night and day to hold the old river off the valley. ♪ ♪ food and water needed at
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louisville. 500 dead, 5,000 ill. food and water needed at cincinnati. food and medicine needed at laurenville. 55,000 homeless in evansville. last time we held the levy but the mississippi backed into tennessee and arkansas and illinois and missouri. she spread her arms over thousands of acres of land and left farms ruined, horsuses tor loose. 1903, 1907, 1913, 1916, 1922,
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1937, we built 100 cities and a thousand towns but at what a cost? ♪ ♪ >> 1937 the entire nation sent help to the stricken people of the valley. congress appropriated millions to aid the flooded cities and villages and to rehib iabilitate flood victims. but spring and fall, the water comes down and for years, the old river has taken a toll from the valley more serious than ever she does in flood time. year in,ye

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